A replay at Theatre in the Park.

Scene from Mwana Wa, a play by Special Matarirano directed by Daves Guzha.

By Nyadzombe Nyampenza

The of edge of a machete scarping on a hard surface creates a chilling sound as warlords and minions duel to death in the play Mwana Wa at Theatre in the Park. After a long closure due to Covid -19, the theatre recently came to life with a piece that explores violence and deadly confrontations in the artisanal mining sector.

Discovering excellence.

‘Thinker’ (detail)— Prudence Chimutuwah, at Gallery Delta.

By Nyadzombe Nyampenza

Gallery Delta continues to provide young female artists the opportunity to shine. A recent exhibition dubbed Past & Present gave the post-Covid-19 lockdown audience a chance to re-discover Prudence Chimutuwah’s gregariously complexioned mostly female subjects. Her work simultaneously challenges the history of art and confronts patriarchy.

One of Chimutuwa’s colorfully bold pieces on exhibition is titled ‘Thinker’. The subject is a young woman seated in a masculine posture, with a gesture that suggests her chin is propped on her first. Her parted legs seductively bare a thigh. The unsmiling face and direct stare are discomforting…

A call for self-reflection.

‘Man turning into a hippo.’ — Bernard Matemera 1986, National Gallery of Zimbabwe.

By Nyadzombe Nyampenza

Change can be visible to others, and less so to the subject. Bernard Matemera’s sculpture Man turning into a hippo is a mythical creature. Neither man nor beast, it is caught in the middle of an alchemical process. It reveals the instability of human nature.

The man translating into a hippo looks like an overgrown baby. His malformed physical attributes seem like those of a fetus in the womb. Three fingers to a hand, and three toes on a foot are indicators that the subject is evolving into an animal. The creatures’ weird…

Here comes another Fabulous Four!

Terrence Musekiwa — Overseers I, 2016(Detail)

By Nyadzombe Nyampenza

Mukwazhi, Muchatuta, Musekiwa and Mapondera, sounds like a high powered legal representation. This is the team that will represent Zimbabwe in the court of public opinion at the 59Th Edition of the Venice Biennale. Considering the overwhelming amount of talent in Zimbabwe, it is a telling sign that these artists were picked for the task. At a time like this.

And the changing times.

Sculpture by Dominic Benhura — At Livingstone House, No 48 Samora Machel Avenue, Harare.

By Nyadzombe Nyampenza

No squeals of delight. No hysterical screams and giggles. This is not a typical playground. Two boys play at wheelbarrow in stone cold silence. Dominic Benhura’s style of carving bald faces has robbed them of facial of expression. It is their graceful physical form that carries an emotional sense of joy.

A light that shines in the dark.

Jah Prayzah ‘Porovhoka’ (Still) — Umsebenzi ka Blaqs.

By Nyadzombe Nyampenza

Women taken as props for a music video by male artists is the perennial issue deserving of redress. The visuals pander to the male gaze. In their sequined dresses and bare parts women accessorize the protagonist. This is obvious in Jah Prayzah’s video for the song Porovhoka. Only the appearance of a white skinned, platinum blond, young woman in a white dress, redeems the overused plot.

For the love of one woman.

Jah Pryazah ‘Mkwasha’ (Still) — Umsebenzi ka Blaqs.

By Nyadzombe Nyampenza

Imperial and haughty would describe the overbearing mother and father-in-law in Jah Prayzah’s music video for the song Mkwasha. They give the son-in-law overwhelming demands. He takes everything in stride.

A people's conscience.

‘Colorism Campaign’ (Detail)— Evans Mutenga, Village Unhu.

By Nyadzombe Nyampenza

An artist’s process can be a very interesting aspect of their work. Visual artist Evans Mutenga uses several layers to accomplish his goal. The outcome often takes him by surprise. Colorism Campaign one of his recent works, turned out far from the artists’ original expectations.

Mutenga professes to have named the piece after downing his tools. He does not believe that a work of art is ever truly completed. His technique involves creating multiple layers to create depth. Beginning with a drawing, or print, he follows up with pasting, to end up peeling bits…

A gentle persuasion.

‘Domestic Violence’ — Installation view(Detail), David Palacios.

By Nyadzombe Nyampenza

The male gaze can easily be drawn to the head and shoulder profile of a woman wearing an ornate hairstyle. The female gaze would be equally enticed. Both sexes are lured into pondering grave matters beyond fashion and style.

Bare statistics are not attractive. David Palacios pulls a feat by gathering facts and stats within his photo graphics installation ‘Domestic Violence 2016’. The installation provides a stimulating way for the audience to engage with boring data. In the gallery space it brings both sexes to stand on equal footing, and observe from a single…

In memoriam.

After Shock: Re-Imagining Life after Cyclone Idai, at National Gallery of Zimbabwe.

By Nyadzombe Nyampenza

A bridge is a sign of human effort to transcend limits. It allows passage across a river or gorge. A bridge facilitates access, and transition to a different state. In a photograph from the cyclone hit Eastern Region of Zimbabwe, a makeshift bridge poignantly reflects such human endeavor.

In 2019 cyclone Idai swept in from the Indian Ocean breaking through the depleted ancient forests of Mozambique. It tore inland, to ravage the eastern region of landlocked Zimbabwe. Chipinge and Chimanimani were the most vulnerable and worst hit. Hundreds of people lost their lives. People got…

Art Re-View Zim

The mix, the mood, the outcome.

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